Arizona, Gulf Coast Leagues Set To Begin June 28; DSL Slated for July 12
The minor leagues will move a little closer to returning to normalcy on June 28, when the Rookie-level Arizona and Gulf Coast Leagues are slated to get their seasons underway. Schedules have been made, divisions have been set and everything is ready for those leagues to begin play for the first time since 2019.
The GCL will feature two five-team divisions and one eight-team division. Here's how it will break down:
Blue Jays, Phillies, Tigers East, Tigers West, Yankees
Astros, Cardinals, Marlins, Mets, Nationals
Braves, Orioles Black, Orioles Orange, Pirates Black, Pirates Gold, Rays, Red Sox, Twins
The North and East Divisions will be off every Sunday, while the South Division will be off every Wednesday and Sunday. Day games will be played at noon with the exception of Saturdays, which will begin at 10 a.m. Night games will be played no later than 7 p.m., and nighttime doubleheaders will begin at 5 p.m.
The AZL will have three six-team divisions, which will be composed like this:
A's, Cubs, D-Backs, Giants Black, Giants Orange, Rockies
Angels, Brewers Blue, Dodgers, Indians, Reds, White Sox
Brewers Gold, Mariners, Padres, Rangers, Royals Blue, Royals Gold
The entirety of the AZL will be off on Sundays and Wednesdays. Games will be played at 6 p.m. local time.
The Dominican Summer League, whose future was a bit cloudier earlier this spring, now has a schedule. The league will begin on July 12 and will end on Oct. 2. The exact structure of the schedule is still being hammered out, but the plan is to have Sundays off, though Wednesdays could also wind up being off-days.
The D-backs, Orioles, Red Sox, Cubs, Indians, Rockies, Tigers, Royals, Dodgers, Brewers, Mets, Yankees, Phillies, Pirates, Giants, Cardinals, Rays and Rangers will each field two DSL teams. The rest of the clubs will field one DSL team, with the exception of the Braves, who will not participate in the league.
The Braves will have a group of players at their complex in the Dominican Republic, but will not play games within the DSL.
Originally, the Brewers and Blue Jays were slated to have a combined team of players, but the Brewers decided to go to two full teams, so the remaining Blue Jays players will develop in the same way as the Braves' players will at their complex.
The pandemic is, of course, the one caveat in all of this. If outbreaks occur, obviously, some things would have to be juggled. For now, these are the plans for the AZL, GCL and DSL.
The full-season minor leagues have been going since May 4. By July 12, the younger prospects who have been working out and playing in extended spring training games in Arizona, Florida and the Dominican Republic will get their turn to join the fun.